How 3 large property managers are adapting to COVID-19 & how you can too

covid-19 Mar 15, 2020

In times of uncertainty, it's hard to know how to react and determine how to make your properties stand out when there is less demand. Let’s take a look at how 3 big players - Sonder, Stay Alfred and Vacasa - are reacting and what measures they are putting into place.

Although the businesses below may not operate the same model as you, we're mainly looking at their tactics to entice guests.

5 tips based on what the larger players are implementing

  1. Target local guests looking for a place to work and hold meetings. Sonder is doing this by using terms such as "is your office closed" in their marketing.
  2. Heavy discounts in affected areas. Sonder is offering 40% discounts on stays of 14+ nights. This may be to make it more palatable to local workers and even those self-isolating.
  3. Flexible cancellation and booking policies. All three are offering greater flexibility. This is what travellers are looking for.
  4. Clarity on how you are dealing with COVID-19.
    - References to deep cleaning, following WHO guidelines etc.
    - Pointing out keyless entry (minimal exposure)
  5. None of the 3 are implementing these changes to their Airbnb and other booking site listings (from what we can see). This is an opportunity for you to update your listings to stand out and entice guests.


Sonder, which rents serviced apartments akin to boutique hotels, has raised $400 million at a valuation north of $1 billion. They operate in 28 cities across the US and Canada, as well as London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Dubai and Rome.

Sonder, Taking Stay Further.
Sonder - a new way to stay in your favorite neighborhoods around the world.

How Sonder is reacting

On their website

  1. 40% off 14+ night stays in affected areas.
  2. Targeting a new type of booking using terms such as "travel plans leave you stranded", "is your office closed", "prefer social distancing".- "Our places have plenty of room to hold small meetings with your team"
  3. Increased cancellation flexibility.
  4. A call-out on their website explaining their COVID-19 response.
    - Explaining cleaning measures
    - Detailing keyless entry

On Airbnb

  1. We couldn't find any updates to their listings on Airbnb.
Sonder - 40% off 14+ night stays in affected areas
Sonder - Call-out on their website explaining their COVID-19 response
Explanation on their website explaining their COVID-19 response
A Sonder listing on Airbnb

Stay Alfred

Stay Alfred offers hotel-style accommodations in high-end downtown apartment buildings in downtown locations. They operate in 32 cities across the US.

Vacation Rentals - Apartments & Condos by Stay Alfred
Located in the best downtown neighborhoods, Stay Alfred’s upscale travel apartments offer the space and amenities of a vacation rental combined with the quality and consistency of a boutique hotel. For your next trip, let us be “Your place in the city.”

How Stay Alfred is reacting

On their website

  1. A call-out on their website explaining their COVID-19 response
    - Extra cleaning precautions
  2. New flexible rebooking policy
    - "Between now and March 31, 2020, when you book with us directly, you’ll have the option to rebook your reservation if your plans change"

On Airbnb

  1. We couldn't find any updates to their listings on Airbnb.

Stay Alfred Airbnb listing


Vacasa is a property management service for short-term rentals with 25,000 properties globally.

Vacasa | Vacation Rentals | Vacation Rental Management | Real Estate
Vacasa manages over 26,000 vacation homes around the world. When you book with us, you get more than a vacation rental—you get professional service you can count on. We’re here for you.

How Vacasa is reacting

On their website

  1. No mention of COVID-19 on their homepage and no mention of special offers.
  2. Googling "Vacasa COVID-19" results in a support page where it mentions they have "established a task force to actively monitor the spread of COVID-19".

They provide quite a bit of detail on this page, which provides confidence (screenshots below):

Photo by Brad Knight on Unsplash

Vince Breslin

I'm one of the founders at Uplisting and am obsessed with helping property managers solve problems and grow their business. Join us at Uplisting and we'll do whatever we can to help.